Arezue Wright- Tench Fishing

At this time of the year with the last of the winter winds washing away, I look forward to the prospect of long summer evenings and the pursuit of the mighty ‘Redeye’.

For the purists amongst us and those who can remember the ‘Glorious 16th June’ for many, signifies the start of the Tenching season.

The Tench is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the coarse species with their deep olive flanks, golden belly, jet black-paddle-like fins and that piercing red teddy bear eye, it truly is a magnificent creature!

Delve in to any tench manuscript and you will see that there is many a tale about this mystical and enigmatic fish, in particular the powers of its thick bodily mucus which envelopes its scales and is rumoured to have medicinal powers, especially to ill and injured fish which would rub up alongside the tench in order to cure themselves of all ills ,thus earning itself the name of the ‘doctor fish’.

As if this wasn’t enough, harnessed within its frame, pound for pound we have what is probably the hardest fighting fish in many an estate lake or silty mere and so you can clearly see why so many anglers consider the tench as a worthwhile pursuit.

With the tench being predominately a still water fish, for many years we would’ve have had to look to find them in shallow, silty estate lakes amongst the Lilly pads and lurking amongst the bull rushes in some long-forgotten backwater canal. Today they are fairly widespread and are often found in slow moving rivers and the largest of gravel pits where with the help and introduction of high protein, paste baits intended for the carp they have grown to truly monstrous proportions.

Tench love weed, whether this be in the form of Lilly beds, dense beds of rushes or thick fibrous masses all of which they love to feed and seek sanctuary in and will often give themselves away as tiny pinprick bubbles rise to the surface as they grub around on the bottom in the search of their next meal.

When it comes to baiting for tench, if allowed, raking a swim and pre-baiting can be a devastating tactic especially early season when the tench are ravenous and will eagerly feed, but check the lake rules first.

Hookbaits for tench are wide ranging from small boilies, maggots, pellets, sweetcorn and a multitude of other particles, but my favourite has got to be a big juicy worm! Redworms, lobworms, brandlings and dendrobenhas, the worm comes in many shapes and sizes and over time they have proven to be a truly magnificent tench bait.

For that added edge try nipping off the end of a juicy worm releasing its juices or even better serve up a cocktail of worm segments topped by a balance piece of plastic corn – deadly.

For the purists and following in the footsteps of true angling masters such as the late, great John Wilson tackling tench on the float will always be the preferred approach and I have to admit that there is nothing more magical than watching that float slide under the surface or when fishing the traditional lift method watching the float rise and then bury as the bait is sucked in and the counterbalance swan shot comes into play.

However, there are many occasions when refined carp tactics and buzzers come into play especially when fished in conjunction with swim feeders or on a helicopter rig and you require a bait to be fished hard on the bottom.

The choice is yours and it is always better to add another string to your bow as what tactics may work one day may not work the next. Follow these simple pointers and I’m sure you’ll soon be battling with a red eyed green giant soon.

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